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Understanding all disease prevalence in the UK

23 August 2023

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A new website gives the public, health professionals and researchers easy access to data about the prevalence of all diseases in the UK, marking a landmark achievement for global health information analysis.

A team of scientists from Cardiff University, and researchers affiliated with the University, have developed and published PrevalenceUK,  the first automated platform that makes disease prevalence data in the UK accessible by search.

The website uses a state-of-the art analytical platform called Livingstone to analyse routine healthcare data in near real-time. This platform allows processing of health data in minutes, marking a step forward in this field, as a scientific study using complex data from the NHS can take 12 to 18 months, whereas the same study can be carried using Livingstone in minutes.

The analytic engine was designed by a team of researchers from Cardiff University’s Schools of Mathematics, Medicine and Computer Sciences and Human Data Sciences. The team focuses on improving public health, aiming to deliver timely access to health information.

Professor Craig Currie, Professor of pharmacoepidemiology at Cardiff University said: "By offering instant access to vital epidemiological analysis, Livingstone and Prevalence UK are helping us to achieve our objectives of improving healthcare outcomes here in the UK and elsewhere.

“These epidemiological studies normally take one to two years, at considerable financial cost, and only with a large team of experts. Livingstone can do the same, and better, in minutes. As a result, we have produced a user-friendly interface that allows users to filter prevalence data by disease.

“This information can assist in the creation of targeted and effective health policies, development of medical research priorities and help with the allocation of scarce healthcare resources.”

Dr John Peters, former Medical Director for Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, said: “We envision this as a turning point for global health information analysis. Whether you are a policy maker, a researcher, a healthcare provider or an interested individual, our platform provides the outputs to understand the epidemiology of diseases and how they affect our populations.

“By understanding the epidemiology of diseases in the UK and around the world and by being able to produce instant, scientific valid health intelligence, it becomes feasible to develop more effective treatment strategies, public health initiatives, and preventive measures.”.

The team’s recent scientific validation work, Real-world evidence from the first online healthcare analytics platform—Livingstone. Validation of its descriptive epidemiology module, was published in the journal PLoS Digital Health.

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